April in the Raw: Tropical Carrot Cake with Coconut Cheesecake “Icing”

My first exposure to raw eating was when my mum bought a copy of “Uncooking with Raw Rose” from a health food store on Vancouver Island a few summers ago. My entire family found it to be quite entertaining (perhaps not the original intent of the book!), especially the logic given for going raw: well, cows eat grass and grow big and strong, so we should just skip the middleman, eat grass and we will also become big and strong. Uhhh… Right-O.

Anyways, I put the raw diet out of my mind as school started shortly thereafter and I really enjoy eating meat, baking things, etc. too much to give it up. Besides, it’s REALLY difficult to eat 100% raw in Calgary because for half the year the produce is iffy at best and can be ridiculously expensive given that it has to be shipped such a long distance to get here. (Plus, I have to count my blessings as Mr. Bean is okay eating lots of vegetables, having gluten free (plus dairy and egg free at the moment) meals and puts up with me when I do things like the Daniel Fast. I don’t think he could do it if I went completely meat free and to be honest, I don’t think that I could do it either!) Nevertheless, I do realize how things are more nutrient rich when they’re raw and try to eat as much raw produce as possible. :)

Fast forward to 2011: when I was perusing the internet for vegan/sugar free/unprocessed food recipes, many of the recipes I came across were raw. Interesting. I thought that the methods used to create dishes were quite interesting (you mean you can make cheesecake out of cashews and use dehydrators to make cookies?!?) and I started thinking about how “cooking” raw would be a culinary challenge worth undertaking – similar to my adventures in baking and cooking gluten, dairy and egg free.

Then, the lovely Brittany of Real Sustenance asked me if I wanted to  participate in April in the Raw and I said yes. (Where else will I have a better opportunity to learn about raw cooking than by participating in such a carnival?) But this left me with a conundrum: what should I make? I mean I could make a salad or something, but that almost seems too easy. So, I went to my parents house and borrowed good ‘ol Raw Rose’s cookbook and began perusing the internet for inspiration. In my over zealous nature, I decided to combine two raw desserts: a carrot cake from Raw Rose’s book and raw vegan cheesecake, of course with my own twist. I LOVE “real” carrot cake with pineapples and coconut in it, so why not try adding that to the raw recipe? It seems to have worked out quite well and is incredibly tasty! The cheesecake part, in my not so humble opinion, is just as good if not better than actual cheesecake!

Raw Tropical Carrot Cake with Coconut Cheesecake Icing

For the carrot cake:

2/3 c. + 1/6 c. each of raw walnuts and pecans, soaked for 4 hours
1 c. de-pitted dates
1/3 c. raisins
2 tsp. cinnamon
Scant 1/2 tsp. each nutmeg and cardamom
Pinch sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. ginger
3 1/2 c. carrots (cut into 1″ chunks before measuring)
1/2 c. freshly grated coconut
1/2 c. fresh pineapple chunks

  1. In a food processor, process soaked walnuts and pecans until in small bits.
  2. Add the dates and process until no more big date chunks exist.
  3. Transfer nut mixture to a large bowl and add raisins and spices. Mix until well combined.
  4. In food processor, process carrots, coconut and pineapple until fine. (I should have processed mine for a bit longer!)
  5. Add carrot mixture to nut mixture and mix until very well combined.
  6. Press into a lightly greased 8 – 9″ springform pan, using a spatula to pat down edges so surface is  flat.
  7. Put in the fridge to set.

Cheesecake Part

2 c. raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. raw agave nectar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2/3 c. freshly grated coconut
2/3 c. coconut oil, melted slowly in oven or on stove
3 – 4 tbsp. coconut milk (I forgot this, so mine was a bit thick)

  1. Process together cashews, lemon juice, agave, coconut and coconut milk.
  2. Then add in the melted coconut oil.
  3. Process until smooth. Taste it and see if it needs anything.
  4. Pour on top of the carrot cake.
  5. Put back in fridge and let it chill for a few hours until set.
  6. Serve with coconut cream and pineapple pieces if desired, but most importantly enjoy!

Given that this was the first time I had made a raw dessert, I definitely learned a few things:

  • I added too many carrots (as they were very small to start off with), so I reduced the amount called for here.
  • The food processor I have isn’t the best as it struggled to get things to be really fine or smooth – but beggars can’t be choosers as it was free!
  • Adjust amounts of flavourings if desired in both the cake and the cheesecake. I think you should make sure that both parts taste good to you as this creates a lot of cake!
  • I made little snacking cakes by filling ramekins about 1/2 full with carrot cake and covering them with a large spoonful of the cheesecake mixture. It’s like a carrot cake muffin with cream cheese icing but raw and in a dish.
  • You can use all pecans or all walnuts in the carrot cake if you desire. Honey can probably be substituted for the agave nectar – just start by adding around 1/3 c. and then adjust to desired. sweetness. :)

I don’t think I’ll ever switch to a 100% raw diet, but with desserts like this, it almost makes me want to consider it.

Have you ever tried making a raw dessert before?

If you want to see more raw recipes, make sure that you follow along with April in the Raw!

Recipe linked up at: Hearth and Soul Hop Volume 42, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Gluten-Free Wednesdays!

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61 Comments

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61 responses to “April in the Raw: Tropical Carrot Cake with Coconut Cheesecake “Icing”

  1. I’m sure you have figured out that I love a good raw dessert! This looks fabulous!

  2. I didn’t think raw eating went much beyond salads. This looks delectable! Although I don’t think I could go 100% raw either this looks really easy and I love the idea of a no bake dessert…one less thing to do in the kitchen :)

  3. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan

    Sounds delicious! :)

  4. My mouth is watering! YUMM!!

  5. I LOVE carrot cake and cheesecake, so this is the perfect recipe for me! Now I know where I can get your special ingredients too, like the agave nectar and raw nuts, since I discovered a fresh produce/organic produce grocery store!

    Thanks for your comment on my post about cleaning out the pantry. I’m learning that I might have an allergy to dairy. If I do, my eating habits are going to have to change a lot! I really want to use a lot of your recipes in the near future, since you use a lot of fresh produce and processed free foods. I’ll let you know if I do!

    • That’s so exciting that you found a store that carries all that stuff! They are generally a bit expensive, but definitely worth it. :)

      Please do let me know! I hope you’re able to figure out that allergy as quickly as possible! Good luck! :)

  6. Great post! I’m glad this blog event inspired you to discover a great raw recipe. I’ve been thinking about doing raw cheesecakes in tiny mason jars to sell at the farmers markets here. I just love the look of tiny desserts.

  7. Beautiful! Especially the “guilt-free” part of it : ) Love this combo of coconut and carrot. Send one over!

    xoLexie

  8. Oh my goodness! I cannot believe that, number 1, that beautiful cake is raw. And number 2, how much I am now craving it!! I totally want to try this now! I can only imagine how many wonderful recipes we are going to have by the time this month is done!

  9. You ROCKED this girl!! I KNEW you would do something totally fabulous.
    LOVE how you made a cheesecake “icing”. Brilliant. That same idea could be used for many recipes (And what a great alternative for anyone with Dairy/Soy Issues Especially.

    I WILL be making this one.
    Thank you SO SO SO SO much for participating in April in the Raw!
    xoxoxox- Britt

  10. This is a gorgeous dessert, and is making me curse the nut allergy! Such a draw back to raw eating; however, sunflower seeds are a good sub at times…maybe I’ll play around with this one – looks SO good!! :)
    xo,
    Gigi

    • Yeah, I imagine it’s difficult to eat raw with a nut allergy as nuts are in everything! If the sunflower seeds pan out, please let me know as I would be interested in seeing what you come up with! :)

  11. I have never tried making a raw dessert, but I don’t think you can go wrong when combining carrot cake and cheesecake! Yum! It’s got so many ‘good for you’ ingredients in it too. The whole recipe sounds fascinating and I love how the cashews help to make the cheesecake. Thank you for sharing with The Hearth and Soul Blog Hop!

  12. Wow! I haven’t tried raw desserts yet, but that looks SO good!

  13. Hi Beanie baby! Oh this looks like something I would have made a few years ago when I was a raw vegan. I did love all the lovely raw desserts the best and yes, cashews all creamed up in the vitamix do certainly taste creamy dreamy good! I do believe still in eating a high percentage of raw “in season” for your location and to follow the seasons of the body but for me and most people I know who committed to raw for longer periods of time, it is not really a permanent lifestyle. Thanks so much for sharing this on the hearth and soul hop! All the best, Alex

    • I totally agree with your philosophy on raw food! It’s really, really good for you, but making that everything you eat is difficult to sustain for long periods of time. Some people can probably do it, but not me. :P

  14. Looks absolutely decadent! Love it!

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  16. i’m constantly feeling i’m on the way to becoming a raw vegan. i’ve been an ovo lacto veg for more than twenty years and i think it’s desserts like these that might finally push me over the edge to my goal. thanks!

    • Good for you! I don’t think I would ever be able to do that (unless I absolutely had to), so I’m terribly impressed. But the raw desserts are quite exciting, aren’t they?

  17. Oh wow! Who needs cream cheese icing when you can just put a cheesecake on top? This looks fantastic.

  18. I am definitely going to make this when I get home today! I was wondering what I could use in place of the agave nectar?? Thanks so much!

    • Honey should work. You could probably use maple syrup as well, but only if you wanted to impart a maple-y flavour. Just start small with the amount and add more until it’s the desired sweetness!

  19. mub

    I was wondering the same thing as Nicole… I don’t know for sure if I have access to agave here. Do you think honey might work?

    I have a giant box of carrots I’ve been looking for recipes for and this is certainly a good contender! Thanks so much =)

    • Honey should work – just start with 1/3 a cup and taste it until you reach the desired sweetness! I found out that it’s the coconut oil that keeps the cheesecake together, so using honey instead of agave should be okay!

  20. Beautiful! I need to start soaking some cashews so I can make this recipe immediately. Just gorgeous, Christine! :-) I want to reach through the screen for that one piece or grab my own snack version in the ramekin–yum!

    Hugs,
    Shirley

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  22. What a lovely dessert! I eat a lot of raw foods, but I rarely create dishes out of raw foods if that makes sense. I am not sure if it is laziness or just not wanting to mess with a good thing. :) (Written while munching on a snack of fruits and veggies). Thanks for sharing your delicious recipe with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

  23. Ummmm, hello! You just combined my 2 most favorite desserts into one- you are my kind of cook! :) wtg, girl- love it! And yes, pineapple, coconut, raisins, all essential to a yummy carrot cake.

  24. impressive! I hear ya on the raw food. I try to eat as much as possible, but to be 100% raw is out of the question (and would probably end in mass murders)

  25. The coconut cheesecake “icing” is sheer genius. My husband would swoon over it, to be sure. Another great recipe. The bar just keeps raising!

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  27. This looks amazing. I love both raw cheesecake and raw carrot cake, and you are genius to combine them together :)

  28. I seriously just yelped with excitement in the office!

  29. whitecalx

    How do you think cashews would work in the cake? Walnuts and pecans are the only nuts that family members can tolerate.

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  32. Sharmista

    I made this today and it was SO good! Thanks for the recipe!

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  34. Yum! That looks delicious. I’ve done raw carrot cake “cookies” before and really loved them. I’m sure I would love this, too.

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  37. I don’t know where I was in April but I was clearly asleep at the switch. I don’t know how your blog and this recipe escaped my notice until now. I LOVE raw desserts. This looks amazing.

  38. Christian

    Just a question regarding the ingredients for the carrot cake: Is it right that you add a total of 2 cups of nuts to the base (two times 2/3 cup + 1/6 cup)? And do you know a substition for fresh coconut?

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  40. I am preparing on baking some muffins for my nan and she’s a diabetic.. Sugar is integral for the muffins actually working, so does any one know any superior alternatives?.

  41. Hi all, here every person is sharing these kinds of know-how, so it’s nice to read this website,
    and I used to go to see this blog daily.

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